Principal - May/June 2021 - 25

Forum report listing the top 10 job skills for 2025 includes
problem-solving, self-management, working with people, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility.
As a result, SEL skills must be taught as a matter of course,
rather than hoping that a child will gain these skills through
genetics or maturation. What is your school currently doing in
each classroom or schoolwide to integrate SEL? How do you
know if what you are doing with SEL is effective, and is your
school changing the narrative on current student statistics?
We've worked with thousands of educators to help tackle these
questions during the pandemic.
To begin this work on your campus, here is the process
we recommend:
1. Identify (prioritize). Identify one SEL competency out
of the CASEL 5 to start with at your school and/or in your classroom based on a precise problem statement-a few sentences
that capture what skill(s) students are struggling with based
on social and academic behavior data and teacher perception
data. As a site administrator, you can likely create a problem
statement based on the student behaviors your teachers complain about most, turning complaints into part of the problemsolving process.
Another way to prioritize with a leadership team, grade level,
or department is to use the SEL Competency Priority Forced Rating Scale (bit.ly/SELPriorityRating). After identifying one of the
five SEL competencies to focus on, select the deconstructed skill
you want to begin with (self-management, for example, includes
the deconstructed skill of self-discipline). The goal in this phase is
to give your team a starting point based on the needs identified.
2. Define mastery. Define what mastery looks like for the
deconstructed skill you chose as your selected SEL competency
in the " Identify " phase. For example, if you selected self-discipline,
mastery might be a student who improves their logging-in-ontime percentages from 60 percent to 80 percent independently
and without prompt.
In a hybrid setting, mastery of self-discipline might be students
improving their task completion rates without repeated reminders or prompts. In a hybrid setting, mastery of self-discipline
might be students improving their task completion rates without
repeated reminders or prompts. The goal is for all staff members
to understand what mastery of the particular skill looks look
like and provide clarity to the skills students should be able to
demonstrate as a result.
3. Teach. Teach the deconstructed skill from your selected
SEL competency using multiple modalities (e.g., direct instruction, student-led, role-playing, wrong way/right way, collective

projects, classroom meetings, scenarios, curriculum, etc.). Model, reinforce,
and allow students to apply what is
being taught. The goal in this phase is
to make the teaching of the selected
skill intentional. When the process is
thought through and planned out in
detail, it is much more likely to happen.
For example, teaching self-discipline
to students in a virtual or hybrid setting
could involve a teacher demonstrating the use of a self-monitoring tool
to help students set goals, prioritize
tasks, and monitor their progress. At
first, the teacher may use this tool
with all students on a regular basis but
eventually continue using it with only
those students who have not mastered
their self-discipline mastery goals as an
ongoing intervention.
4. Repeat. Assess and adjust as needed, then begin the process again based
on student data and teacher needs. The
goal in this phase is to reflect on the
effectiveness of your efforts and either
adapt, adopt, or abandon the plan based
on data and commit those learnings to
the next cycle.
As you go through the suggested
phases as a recurring process, you'll
begin to see the positive impact on your
students, view any problem behaviors
as SEL skills students are lacking, and
apply solutions to address the area of
need. Most importantly, you will establish a culture of support for student
behavior that can be sustained in any
learning environment.
Jessica Djabrayan Hannigan is an
assistant professor in the Educational
Leadership Department at California State
University, Fresno, and co-author of SEL
From a Distance.
John Hannigan is an executive leadership coach for Fresno County Superintendent of Schools in California and
co-author of SEL From a Distance.
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http://www.bit.ly/SELPriorityRating

Principal - May/June 2021

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